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European Child Safety Alliance
  1. J Vincenten1
  1. Director, European Child Safety Alliance j.vincenten{at}consafe.nl

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    With the support of the European Commission and the Consumer Safety Institute of the Netherlands, the European Consumer Safety Association has been able to fulfill one of its ambitions: to create a long lasting platform to coordinate European promotions and advocacy work that will increase the profile of child injury prevention and place it on the political agenda, through the networks of dedicated national societies.

    More specifically, in the field of child safety and through the efforts of a newly established European Child Safety Alliance, we will advocate to achieve safer daily living for children throughout Europe. This would include consistency of standards, policies, and legislation used throughout Europe that impacts children's safety, as well as assisting parents and caregivers to be well informed consumers in order to make the right choices for children. Moreover, we will try to influence the environment so that families would have a selection of child safety products that are accessible for families. These products would be affordable for families to purchase, and easy to use so their safety value is not lost in misuse. We hope to improve the lives of children in Europe so all those whom have an impact on them, would make decisions and choices that use what has been proven to work, as well as keeping the interest of children a first priority.

    The alliance will emphasize strategies that will assist in the reduction of deaths and disability to children due accidents to children 0–18 years of age in the EU member states. Over the next three years (2001 to 2003) accidental injuries and deaths among children 0–4 years will be the focus of activities. We intend to concentrate on promoting the wider application of safety technologies that are simple to install and that have already been proven to be effective.

    The scope of work will include the areas of:

    • Accident and risk factor analysis.

    • Product safety and technology.

    • Standardization and enforcement.

    • Education and campaigns.

    The work will be done in partnership with multidisciplinary stakeholders involved in child injury prevention to promote a coordinated and consistent approach across Europe. The European Child Safety Alliance will operate using evidence based research to determine its priority issues and strategies. These strategies will be delivered using stakeholders and partners in the member states in order to reach a diverse audience. Strategies will incorporate multifaceted approaches to enhance the level of success in reducing injuries including engineering, enforcement, and education.

    It is hoped that the alliance will serve as the European catalyst through which national and international networks and activities are facilitated to advance advocacy for European legislative and funding changes, broad social marketing campaigns, and an injury communications network to share best practices/successful programming, and information needs.

    The alliance is guided by a steering group, composed of representatives from national child injury prevention agencies in the 15 EU member states and affiliated child safety organizations. A business plan outlining the specific activities of the alliance is being drafted and has been available for review from March 2001. To review this plan and obtain more information about the European Child Safety Alliance, please check the European Consumer Safety Association web site at www.ecosa.org.

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